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The Shift From Talk Therapy to Medication

October 12, 2012

A psychiatrist shared his feeling about the shift from talk therapy to medication. He felt unfulfilled but had to follow the trend because insurance companies pay more money to the psychiatrist for the medication than a therapy session. Also, due to the large volumes of patients he sees every day, and upon the request of the patients for fast treatment, prescriptions of drugs are given instead of talk therapy.

One of the reasons that medication is so popularly used to treatment mental illnesses is because the emphasize on efficiency. People want a fast solution to their problem because they are busy with their life. However, there is a difference between a treatment and a cure. In my opinion, those who only use medications for mental illnesses is only treating the symptoms whereas the cure is to find the cause of the mental illness, and then eliminate it. For example, antidepressants will make a depressed person seem to be “normal”, but once he or she gets off the pills, he or she will go back to depression. Nevertheless, if you find the problem that caused this depression, he or she will not need to rely on antidepressants.

The paradigm of mental illness treatment is medical-central. People consider a person being in a good health as long as the person is functioning. Without caring for the person, people around the patient ignores the problem and pretend everything is fine. The patient might feel isolation because he or she cannot talk to anyone about his or her problem, which might worsen the symptoms of the illness. The views of how mental illness should be treated needs to be changed as well as the health insurance policies regarding mental illness. However, under the current paradigm, the treatment of mental illness will only be more and more medicalized.

Yufei Chen

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